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Want to See What Elmhurst District 205's Citizens Advisory Committee Has Been Up To?

Discussion on a three-tier bus system and late start times for students is not listed as an agenda topic at tonight's School Board meeting, but it is one of the topics tackled by the Citizens Advisory Committee.

Last summer, Elmhurst District 205 administrators put together a committee to help tackle many of the challenges facing the district this year and in the years to come. Superintendent David Pruneau will introduce the members of that group, the District 205 Citizens Advisory Committee, at Tuesday's School Board meeting at 7:30 p.m.

Last June, Pruneau acknowledged how difficult the job of committee member was likely to be. They were expected to meet twice a month, October through December, learn all about School District finances, state standards and core curriculum, and then present input on how the district should spend its money.

"It's not like people will be lining up" to join the committee, Pruneau said last summer. "I think it's going to be pretty intense work."

About 30 people did join. After Tuesday's introductions, Pruneau will present a summary of their work.

In a January article regarding discussions about a three-tier bus schedule and a new start time for students next year, Pruneau indicated this topic might be before the board on Feb. 12. The subject is not listed as a separated item on Tuesday's agenda, but it was one of the topics tackled by the Citizens Advisory Committee.

The consequences of such a system would have to be thoroughly investigated before there is a full discussion by the Board of Education, Pruneau said last month.

Next on the agenda Tuesday will be a presentation on the results of a Harris survey of district students, teachers and staff, and parents. (Spoiler alert: students generally think things are going along well in District 205 and say they like their school experience. Teachers, not so much.)

The School Board will then take another look at its fiscal year 2014 budget. Last month, the board examined the district's five-year financial projections in the operating fund, which includes teacher salaries and benefits. The district's financial advisor painted a picture of low or negative fund balances and budget deficits based on a set of assumptions, including increasing enrollment and state mandates.

The board on Tuesday is expected to look at a list of budget cuts presented last year that have not yet been implemented.

After the budget discussion, board members will hear information about the Illinois State Board of Education's ISAT score revisions. Following months of discussion, on Jan. 24 ISBE voted to increase the cut scores used to determine if elementary and middle school students are meeting state standards on the ISAT, administered annually in early March. As a result, students will have to achieve a higher score to meet state standards this spring than they did in the past.

Committee reports from the district's standing committees will be next on the agenda. Only two committees will present updates: Curriculum and Instruction, and Performance Management committees.

Once the board reviews its upcoming meetings and hears any last-minute communications, the meeting will adjourn.

The School Board meets at the District 205 administration building, 162 S. York St. Members of the community will be invited to speak for up to three minutes during the public comment portion of the meeting.

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